Americans will spend nearly $7 billion on Halloween

What economic downturn? Americans apparently have plenty of money for candy, costumes and decorations.

By Benzinga Oct 18, 2013 1:07PM

Image: Halloween (© Digital Vision Ltd/SuperStock)By Jim Probasco


This year, by Oct. 31, Americans will have spent close to $7 billion on scary stuff.


This will include scary decorations, scary costumes, and if you believe most health experts, scary candy. This is according to the National Retail Federation Halloween Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.


Overall, consumer spending on "all things Halloween" has increased a whopping 54.7 percent since 2005 making it a significant source of retail revenue, especially since it comes in a month that would otherwise be slow.


Breaking down Halloween spending, 43.6 percent of people said they plan to dress up. 

Those folks will spend $2.6 billion on costumes, almost equally split between those for adults and those for children. Halloween revelers will spend $330 million on costumes for their pets.


Then there’s the candy. The tab on trick-or-treat confections will run more than $2 billion. Halloween greeting cards will cost an additional $360 million.


Finally, Americans will fork over almost $2 billion on decorations, including skeletons, spider webs, inflatable Frankenstein monsters, and various other ghoulish yard and interior paraphernalia.


In fact, spending on Halloween decorations ranks second only to spending on Christmas decorations, a fact not lost on merchants who devote entire sections of their stores to the holiday.


Speaking of merchants, many major corporations, rather than spending October ramping up for the more visible Christmas holiday season, now spend significant advertising dollars on goblins, witches and zombies before turning their attention to Santa and his reindeer.


Sometimes the macabre nature of Halloween can trip up even the most careful corporate oversight, especially when a questionable item makes its way into the company online catalog. Such was the case this year for Sears (SHLD), Wal-Mart (WMT), and Amazon (AMZN), three of the biggest players in Halloween merchandising.


In September, horrified shoppers clicked on Halloween offerings and were shocked to see what Consumerist said was listed as a "foam-filled latex prop of a skinned dog with a large tire track squished through its mid torso." All three retailers quickly pulled the item, dubbed the "Dead Dog," but not before a number of customer complaints appeared on all three companies’ Facebook pages.


Despite an occasional trip up like this, the potential revenue from Halloween-related spending is simply too much to ignore. Once relegated to novelty shops and specialty retailers, Halloween is now a mainstream holiday and a solid source of revenue.


At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.


Read more from Benzinga


65Comments
Oct 19, 2013 12:28AM
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I use to look foward to handing out candy, but after years of nothing but rude teens with no costumes holding a pillow case for candy,women with asses as wide as the sidwalk pushing todlers not old enough to walk with painted faces(I'm sure the kids got the candy), and 80 % of the kids not even saying "thank you" while their parents were standing right there.......no thanks..........also,this year I'll have my video camera set up and hope the punk that egg'd my garage last year comes back...........
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I love Halloween!

I dress the house with black light, fog machines, FIRE, dummies & jack O lanterns!

Can't scare the little bastards enough!

Oct 18, 2013 8:25PM
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What kind of losers would not celebrate Halloween?
Oct 18, 2013 7:13PM
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   My wife says I don't need a mask. She says I wear mine year round.
Oct 18, 2013 9:09PM
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Boo to you! Halloween is a fantastic holiday open to everyone and really just part of the American experience. People can have all kinds of fun no matter if you are a kid, teen, or an adult.  And you can celebrate it pretty much without any real money, just make your own costume and or decorations with stuff you have around the house, invite your friends to watch a rented scary movie with you , go to a party or trick or treating with your kids or stay home pop some popcorn and tell ghost stories/watch something scary on tv.  There is pretty much zero dollars on that.
Oct 18, 2013 8:58PM
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I don't usually dress up, and I reuse my decorations each year, so I won't have any additional costs there this year. But, my husband and I like to give out the good stuff (loaded treat bags that include a full-sized candy bar) and that can get a bit expensive. We usually spend between $30 and $50 on candy. We don't mind, though. We both grew up out in the country where we never got trick-or-treaters, and we didn't get to do much of it ourselves. Now, we live in a town that loves Halloween, and we get 30+ kids at our door each year. (I've been told we can expect nearly double that in the next two years when Halloween falls on a weekend.) So, it's kind of like we're making up for all the sucky Halloweens we had as kids. 
Oct 18, 2013 8:32PM
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I like the ones who say $5 to $10 I have to buy some candy. Ha! $5 will buy one bag.
Oct 19, 2013 1:57AM
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Funny how many people have no idea what Halloween really is. It is a pagan holiday, It is not just a day to get drunk and hand out free candy. I finally got my team at the  office to help with our area to decorate. There are still a few spoil sports
Oct 19, 2013 12:04AM
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The poll cracked me up.  $5-$10 for candy?  Last year I spent over $30.  It's worth making the kids smile. 
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The poll should be modified. I'm spending 0 but I might do something. It is better to wait until the day before Halloween or the day of to buy last minute costumes. I bought 2 last year both were over $60 and I paid $14.50-$16.50 for each of them. Great Buy. Costumes, especially the cool ones costs soooo much money. Those who don't want to spend a lot can go to a Ragshack or Goodwill they have prepackaged clip ons like wings and tails and you can make your own. That's what my old roommate did. Cutest purple kitty I ever saw! lol
Oct 18, 2013 6:18PM
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Wow I didn't know so much was spent on Halloween. I think I'll spend $20.00 and call it quits.
Oct 18, 2013 10:31PM
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lol Remember Charlie Brown? All I got were rocks.
Oct 20, 2013 9:10PM
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Nice MSNBC!!!  Your poll is BS as usual.   The average person doesn't spend $75 or more....
Oct 19, 2013 11:55PM
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I enjoy halloween, when my children were younger, i would walk with them as they trick or treated.  To this day I make sure that I have packaged candies for children who ring my door bell on halloween, no matter how old these children are.

Being a child on Halloween transcends age.

Oct 19, 2013 1:46PM
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I love Halloween and Giving CANDY not tooth brush's, not little Bibles CANDY just like when I was a kid !

If you don't celebrate Halloween then turn your light out and don't get a pumpkin simple but don't try to ruin another Holiday because your against it? 

Oct 19, 2013 6:21PM
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I'm a falsly accused offender, I can't celebrate....but if I did, I'd go ALL OUT!!! :) Over $100.

 I only decorate my back yard, where the police can't see

Oct 20, 2013 3:02AM
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were still in a downturn...more people are just spending money on higher prices for candy..anyone notice candy prices are soaring? 15,00 for 150 pieces in a bag...up from 12.00 2-3 years ago and 10.00 just 10 years ago...thats over 30% in 10 years....its not us spending more its us paying more!!! are they weighing these variables??? funny this post acts like since were spending more then we are moving out of a downturn..then why is poverty going up? and why the amount of poor people? oh and also more people are blowing money on phones ever before so that must mean no downturn??? thats a unrelevant article....even decorations are a rip....10 dollars for a styrofoam tombstone from the halloween store? 40 dollars for a constume and some going as far as 150.00!!!! half the people now a days DONT even use a constume on halloween so how can people spend more and more on constumes? sounds like the prices are just going up and that is screwing with the research acting like we are doing it more when were not....who wants to blow off 50 bucks on a cheap made in china plast hanging ghoul that falls apart in a year
Oct 19, 2013 9:13AM
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Anybody notice how crappy the Halloween props have gotten over the last few years. I used to look forward to the animated Lifesize props each year but they got so crappy and cheap nobody bought them. Now no stores carry them !!
Oct 20, 2013 3:18AM
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We were always stretching it to buy cheap Walmart costumes for our kids and candy to pass out at the door.  But after a layoff a year ago, a new job this month, 2-3 months behind on utility bills, and 1 month behind on a mortgage payment.  We are keeping the lights off this year.  We are penny pinching each and every dollar to pay down one of the above bills to keep our house and keep our utilities going.  I voted $0 but only because we do not have a dollar to spare this year...as others may have too.  Bummer, as this is a very fun holiday and love seeing the little guys in their costumes every year. :(
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